Chirpy makes debut at Kensington
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – For “Chirpy” the Cricket, sharing in the fun of the interval display by the Scotiabank Kiddy cricketers during lunch on the second day of the first Digicel Test between West Indies and Australia on Sunday at Kensington Oval was a coming home of sorts.
The new Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket mascot was designed by Daniel Lashley, a junior school student at the prestigious Harrison College, alma mater of such past West Indian stars as the late Sir Clyde Walcott, one of the famous Ws triumvirate, and David Holford.
Around 80 Kiddy Cricketers gave the crowd a glimpse of future generations of West Indies players with their batting, bowling and fielding skills. The young players hailed from Al-Falah, Good Shepherd, St. Judes Primary, St. Ambrose, Welches, St. James, St. Paul’s and West Terrace primary schools.
Robin Parris, the West Indies Cricket Board’s Territorial Development Officer for Barbados, acknowledged the Kiddy Cricket Programme as the starting point of the game in the island.
“We have restructured our technical-based programme to suit a more evolving primary school cricket landscape here in Barbados, keeping our children engaged in cricket activities such as Kiddy Cricket Festivals, Kiddy Cricket Summer Camps and more year round,” he said.
“We have definitely seen a marked improvement in the quality of cricket played at this year’s Kiddy Cricket Festival in Barbados on March 17, as West Terrace and also Al-Falah primary schools came out with top honours.”
Parris said the Festival not only produced winning schools, but also gave the coaches a glimpse of 80 of the top cricketers at the primary school level.
“This is important to not only to Barbados, but West Indies cricket, as we strive to develop well-rounded Kiddy Cricketers who can progress through our cricketing pathway, completing and developing sound outlined technical skill sets as they move to every level of their development,” he said.
“Our future definitely looks bright from what we as coaches have seen this year at the Kiddy Cricket level, and if executed according to plan, our cricket will only get progressively better.”
Marcelle Greenidge, Scotiabank Marketing Manager for the Eastern Caribbean, said the bank was happy with the work it was doing to help develop the game in Barbados and around the region.
“We are extremely pleased to share and expose our children to this unifying and deep-rooted Caribbean tradition, which reflects our day-to-day way of life,” she said.
“’Growing the sport’ has been our motto since we revamped the programme two years ago, and we have definitely seen increased participation levels as we strive to include all primary school across Barbados in Kiddy Cricket by next year.”
She added: “As we saw during the interval display, many of our children seem headed toward great futures in cricket, whether it be on or off the field.
“Scotiabank is very proud to be partners with the WICB, giving them the head start by not only visiting the World-renowned Kensington Oval, but also drawing on the inspiration from playing on the very field that their cricketing heroes have graced. We are committed to creating the next great moment in World cricket.”
K.J. Singh, WICB project officer for the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket, said the regional governing body recognised the important role the programme was playing in helping to promote and develop the sport in the Caribbean.
“The Kiddy Cricket programme is an enormous investment in the youth of the Caribbean by Scotiabank and indeed the WICB,” he said.
“It’s not just a programme to hone the skills of the budding players, but it also helps primary school children gain and maintain an appreciation for the game, while developing positive values and enhancing the appeal of their education.”
The next Kiddy Cricket Interval Display is scheduled to be staged in Trinidad & Tobago during the second Digicel Test between West Indies and Australia on Sunday, April 15 at the Queen’s Park Oval.